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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: LAW3037 Module Title: MEDICAL LAW
Module Provider: School of Law Short Name: LAW333
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: YORKE J Dr (Schl of Law)
Number of credits: 30 Number of ECTS credits: 15
Module Availability
Both Semesters
Assessment Pattern
Unit(s) of Assessment
Weighting Towards Module Mark (%)
Qualifying Condition(s) 
Overall Mark of 40%
Module Overview
This module introduces students to substantive dilemmas of current medical practice.
Criminal Law/ Contract Law/Law of Tort
Module Aims
The aim of this module is to consider the ethical issues and the legal consequences of decisions taken by the medical profession. These will be considered in light of recent advances in medical technology. The first part of the course deals with ethical dilemmas in medical law. The second part looks at the legal and ethical issues that relate to life, death and medical treatment. The final part considers current issues in medical law and covers such issues as regulation of the medical profession, organ donation, the use of genetic information, product liability and mental health law. All of these topics will be considered with the Human Rights Act 1998 in mind so as to consolidate existing student learning.
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge and Understanding
At the end of this course students should:
  • Be able to grasp a knowledge and understanding of substantive and ethical issues in medical law.
  • Be able to discuss the socio-legal concepts of medical law in both academic and legal discourse
  • Be able to critically consider conflicting ethical arguments about medical treatment
  • Have a grasp of the current regulation of the law concerning abortion
  • Understand the issues surrounding the refusal of withdrawal of medical treatment
  • Be able to critically consider the current legal definition of death
  • Understand the legal and ethical issues involved in euthanasia
  • Have a good grasp of the current legal issues facing particular medical technological advances
  • Realise the current relevance of mental health law as a concern within medical law
At the end of the course students should have furthered their command of the following skills:
  • Ability to state the legal and theoretical principles clearly and effectively.
  • Ability to critically evaluate published research on the socio-legal dimensions of medical law
  • Ability to use these sources effectively in constructing an argument for coursework purposes and within exam conditions
  • Ability to critically evaluate law, policy and models of regulation within exam conditions
  • Ability to appraise the impact of new law on the working practices of medicine
  • Ability to construct a principled argument and to critically evaluate the arguments of others
  • Ability to design proposals for reform of existing law
Module Content
Part I: Ethical Foundations in Medical Law
  • Moral deliberations and the dilemmas of medical practice
  • The value of life and a right to medical care and treatment
Part II: Life, Death and Medical Treatment
  • Consent I: Competence and incompetence
  • Consent II: Informed decisions and the refusal of treatment
  • The beginnings of life: Scientific advances and medical technology
  • The beginnings of life: Abortion and the treatment of neonates
  • Death and Dying I: Diagnosis of death
  • Death and Dying II: Easing the passing
Part III: Current Issues in Medical Law
  • Judgement of Gods: Regulation of the medical profession
  • Sacred Gifts: Organ donation and the body as property
  • Pandora’s Box: Research, Genetics and the spectre of cloning
  • Russian Roulette: Product liability and fortune hunting? A price worth paying?
  • Science as myth?: Mental Health Law
Methods of Teaching/Learning
Autumn Semester one 2 Hour Lecture (weekly) plus one 1 hour tutorial (fortnightly). Spring Semester: one 2 Hour lecture (weekly for the first part of the semester) plus one 1 hour tutorial (fortnightly).
Selected Texts/Journals
Herring, J Medical Law (2006, OUP, Oxford)
Mason, JK & Laurie, GT, Law and Medical Ethics, (2005, OUP, Oxford)
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